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New Mexico scraps Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

April 3, 2019
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham describes new efforts by the state to expand its outdoor recreation economy at a bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Hyde Memorial State Park outside Santa Fe, N.M. She said the initiative also helps guarantees equal access to outdoor experiences for all children. New Mexico is following the example of Western states such as Colorado in pursuing a greater share of the outdoor recreation economy. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham describes new efforts by the state to expand its outdoor recreation economy at a bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Hyde Memorial State Park outside Santa Fe, N.M. She said the initiative also helps guarantees equal access to outdoor experiences for all children. New Mexico is following the example of Western states such as Colorado in pursuing a greater share of the outdoor recreation economy. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is doing away with Columbus Day in favor of a holiday honoring Native Americans.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed legislation that creates Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October and strikes Columbus Day from a list of official state holidays.

The initiative from state Rep. Derrick Lente of the Sandia Pueblo tribe in central New Mexico stirred emotional debate at the Legislature.

At least five states stretching from Hawaii to Vermont have done away with Columbus Day celebrations in deference to Native Americans. The federal holiday honoring Italian explorer Christopher Columbus remains in place.

Tributes to European conquerors in many New Mexico communities are being written out of consideration for the state’s 23 American Indian nations and tribes.

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